Duke Energy Kentucky applied March 19 at the Kentucky Public Service Commission for an order declaring that the construction of a new landfill to replace the current landfill at the East Bend coal plant that is nearing capacity, constitutes an ordinary extension of the company’s existing system in the usual course of business.
In the alternative, this Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK) subsidiary requested that the commission grant a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN) for the construction of the landfill.
East Bend is a 648-MW, single-turbine plant located near Rabbit Hash in Boone County, Ky. Duke Energy Kentucky currently operates a landfill at East Bend that is used for the disposal of waste products resulting from the company’s flue gas desulfurization (FGD) and other waste material (called the East Bend Landfill). It is projected to reach its capacity in the next three to four years and the company must either construct a new landfill on the western portion of the East Bend Campus (called the West Landfill) or arrange to transport its waste to another landfill operated by a third party. The company said it must act now to begin construction before the current landfill reaches its full capacity.
Duke Energy Kentucky said it has a present opportunity to address the landfill capacity issue with a reasonably priced and long-term solution. It has recently acquired land adjacent to East Bend from its affiliate, Tri-State Improvement Co. and its parent Duke Energy Ohio, and through its recent acquisition of the 31% interest in East Bend from Dayton Power & Light (DP&L) that is permitted for and can accommodate the West Landfill. Duke Energy Ohio and Tri-State agreed to sell and transfer the land to Duke Energy Kentucky at its original book value, which is lower than the current market value.
The land acquisition provides Duke Energy Kentucky the ability to construct the West Landfill and continue to store waste material from East Bend on site, rather than incurring costs to transport to and dispose of the waste material at third-party-owned landfills. The East Bend Landfill is permitted to receive various forms of waste, including, but not limited to, FGD waste, fly ash and bottom ash, from a number of generating sources, including those generating stations currently owned and/or operated by Duke Energy Kentucky and for generating stations for other Kentucky utilities and Ohio-based electric generators. These permitted sources include, but are not limited to, the East Bend and Miami Fort 6 stations owned by Duke Energy Kentucky, the Spurlock station owned by East Kentucky Power Cooperative, the Ghent station owned by Kentucky Utilities, and the Zimmer, Beckjord, Miami Fort and Killen stations.
The West Landfill is permitted to receive generator waste from sources other than East Bend to ensure there is sufficient dry fly ash material to make the Poz-o-tec byproduct necessary to operate the station’s FGD handling process. As such, this West Landfill will be beneficial for not only Duke Energy Kentucky, but potentially for other utilities in Kentucky.
Approximately 80% of the ash produced at East Bend is dry fly ash. That material is mixed with the spent scrubber slurry and lime to make a stable material called Poz-o-tec. The mixture sets up much like concrete and is placed in the onsite landfill. At times, the East Bend station does not produce enough generator waste to make the Poz-o-tec material on its own and must receive additional fly ash from other sources. The remaining 20% is bottom ash. This bottom ash is treated in an ash pond located on site at East Bend.
The West Landfill project includes construction of approximately 200 acres of lined landfill. The West Landfill is designed to accept approximately 30 years of generator waste from the East Bend Station and other permitted stations. The West Landfill will be constructed in eight separate phases, with the first phase to be completed in 2016. The additional seven phases will be constructed in approximate three-year increments with a projected completion date of 2037 for all phases. The approximate cost of the first phase is $30 million. The company anticipates commencing engineering on the second cell in 2016 with actual construction beginning in 2019. Duke Energy Kentucky said it has already obtained the necessary environmental permits to construct the West Landfill.